CAIRO: Emad Meteb scored twice to break his dry spell and lead Egypt to a 2-0 home victory over Malawi in the World Cup qualifiers on Sunday.
The Ahly frontman, whose last goal for Egypt was in January, scored either side of the interval to help the Pharaohs claim a much-needed win.
Egypt now share Group 12 lead with DR Congo on nine points, three ahead of Malawi.
The African champions got their first sight of goal after eight minutes when Hosni Abd-Rabou’s curling free kick went just wide of the post.
Malawi almost stunned the home crowd just three minutes later, but they were denied by a superb reflex save from the in-form Essam El-Hadari.
A left-wing corner found the unmarked Hellings Mwakasungula, whose header was blocked by El-Hadari from point-blank range.
Hani Saied, who was given an advanced role, orchestrated Egypt’s opener in the 17th minute.
He stormed through the midfield, sidestepped two challengers before passing the ball to Meteb.
The Ahly striker sent a low shot that bounced off the ground and went past Malawi keeper Swadic Sanudi.
Egypt coach Hassan Shehata had to make an early substitution after Hossam Ghaly sustained an injury.
He was replaced by Ahmed Al-Mohammadi, who switched to the right while skipper Ahmed Hassan reclaimed his place in the heart of midfield.
Meteb got on the score sheet once again to double Egypt’s lead in the 50th minute.
Mahmoud “Shikabala Abdel Razek flicked Al-Mohammadi’s chip into the path of Meteb, whose looping header flew past Sanudi.
A Mahmoud Fathallah blunder eight minutes past the hour mark almost gave Malawi a lifeline.
His ill-timed tackle allowed Fisher Kondowe to ghost behind him in the six-yard box but the Malawian defender’s low shot missed the target.
Amr Zaki could have added the third for Egypt in the 78th minute but his free header from inside the area went over the bar.